Monday, January 16, 2012

Sure, TSA, we believe you

After years of pooh-poohing concerns about the new airport scanners giving off dangerous levels of radiation, the LA Times broke the story that the TSA has decided to start testing its employees for exposure:
After years of rebuffing health concerns over airport scanners, the Transportation Security Administration plans to conduct new tests on the potential radiation exposure from the machines at more than 100 airports nationwide.
But the TSA does not plan to retest the machines or passengers. Instead, the agency plans to test its airport security officers to see if they are being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation while working with the scanners.
They go on to quote a TSA spokesman who, when confronted with the accusation that the Agency has decided to implement the radiation testing, said:
"TSA is dedicated to the health and safety of its employees," TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said.

So let me get this straight, you have decided that you better test your employees because the scanners give off unsafe levels of radiation.  But they are safe for the people going through them.  Uh-huh.  Yup, I believe that...


Dave H said...

It's a fair thing to test. An operator may only get (for example) 1% of the exposure a victim does, but if he scans 300 people in a shift he's getting a lot more than any one of them. Radiation damage accumulates so a lot of small exposures will add up. (Although the manufacturer of the scanners should have tested exposure at the operating point already. I wonder what the TSA thinks might have changed.)

I can see why TSA would want to check this and fix it if necessary. If there is a problem with operator radiation exposure they don't just have to put up with the public gumbling, they have to put up with OSHA.

2cents said...

Except TSA initially said there was no risk to anyone. And now they obviously think there is a chance of some risk. So revisit the whole thing.